Fee, fi, fo, fum... July 16 2014, 0 Comments


Why don’t we add fragrance to our soaps? As ilo ORGANICS is producing soaps to cater for sensitive skins, we consciously chose to omit fragrance compounds from our products. Most fragrance compounds, whether synthetically or naturally derived, are known skin irritants or allergens- yet they are used profusely in commercial products. It’s become our accepted expectation that our olfactory senses will be stimulated by every personal care product we buy. How did that happen? When and why did manufacturers begin to saturate our senses with an overload of fragrance?

There in lies the clue- commercial manufacturing and marketing rule our lives in order to attract sales...manipulating our senses for profit.

We started making our organic soaps out of necessity to address our daughter’s skin sensitivities. She reacted to everything- commercial and other handmade soaps, hand and body washes, shampoos and conditioners, creams, detergents, washing powders…an extensive list of products. If she uses a hand-wash in a public toilet, her hands become instantly red and painfully irritated for 3-5 days. If she stays outside of our home, she reacts with rashes to the washing powders used by others on sheets and towels. We know she is allergic to yellow colouring, and that’s used commercially in most products to stimulate visual appeal. Beyond that, we don’t know what specifically causes her reactions. So we set about making the purest soap product we could- using the best organic ingredients we could source, to ensure a chemical and irritant free product.

After researching ingredients, fragrance compounds became an obvious exclusion…even most essential oils are known skin irritants with their concentrated forms.

The essential oils that are known allergens and irritants to avoid skin contact with are: balsam, basil, benzoin, birch, black pepper, cassia, clove, cinnamon bark, citronella, costus, divaret pine, elecampane, eucalyptus, fennel, ginger, lemon, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, oregano, peppermint, pimento berry, pine, savory, tagetes, red thyme and wintergreen.

The essential oils that are known photo-sensitizers to avoid skin contact with are: angelia, bergamot, bitter orange, cumin, lemon, lime, opoponax, rue and verbena.

That’s quite an extensive list. Are you recognising common fragrances used in your commercial products, and still wondering why you suffer skin irritations...despite changing products?

We’d hate to say how many times we were asked at the markets on Sunday alone, if we have a lemongrass soap. Dried lemongrass in the quantities that would be added to a soap would offer little fragrance. The fragrance would need to be boosted by the addition of a synthetic fragrance or essential oil…but check those lists above. Lemongrass essential oil is an established skin irritant.

Do you even contemplate the plethora of fragrances that you’re applying to your body every day through personal care products? There’s the body wash or soap, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, moisturiser, hand-cream, toothpaste, hair product…and then perfume/aftershave. What on earth do we smell like at the end of all of that…with most fragrances never meant to be compatibly combined with the others.

We intentionally seek out fragrance free products for our use. We embrace the natural odours of the organic plant oils that we use in our soaps. They’re subtle, yet simply refreshing…as our senses have re-engaged after the removal of the fragrance overload in our lives. We do “…smell the blood of an Englishman…” more readily and happily these days…and embrace the fact!